Washington, DC – U.S. Sens. Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley said today’s announcement of a $1.46 million federal grant for industrial park construction in Hermiston will help create jobs and build a stronger economy in Umatilla County.
The Economic Development Administration (EDA) grant for development of the South Hermiston Industrial Park had been sought by Wyden and Merkley in an August 2019 support letter that noted the city’s hard work to recover from the Hermiston Foods plant closure and layoffs at the local Union Pacific rail yard.
“Hermiston secured this grant by demonstrating Eastern Oregon-style resiliency with a targeted investment in an industrial park that will support small business growth,” Wyden said. “This smart approach will generate jobs and investment that diversifies the city and regional economy for generations to come.”
“Between the economic impacts of this pandemic and sick family members, friends, and neighbors, the Hermiston community has been hit especially hard by the coronavirus this year,” said Merkley. “As we continue to take steps big and small that will keep ourselves and our loved ones safe from the virus, we must also make critical investments in our workforce and infrastructure that will help us create jobs and build for a better future. That’s why investments like this one are so important, and why I’m going to keep fighting for the resources that will help Umatilla County bounce back stronger.”
The EDA grant will fund infrastructure improvements including water, sewer, and roadways to open new industrial parcels for a development that’s projected to create 250 jobs and leverage $70 million in investment.
“This investment from the EDA allows us put some focus on supporting smaller light-industrial operations who need only 1-5 acres in the South Hermiston Industrial Park. These smaller operations help further diversify our local employment base, and help deepen our available supply of regional contractors and service providers for the agricultural, energy, and transportation sectors,” said Mark Morgan, Assistant City Manager for Hermiston. “I am very grateful for the foresight and assistance of our congressional delegation in Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley, along with Representative Greg Walden, in seeing the long-range dividends that this investment will pay for the people of Eastern Oregon.”